20 February 2019

We speak to three of Osborne King’s team about moving up through the commercial property firm and what sets it apart from the competition.

From the outset, it’s clear that Northern Ireland commercial property firm Osborne King puts its people at the forefront of how the business operates and succeeds.  

Growing into a team of more than 40 staff, it’s a specialist commercial property consultancy based in Belfast – working for clients across the UK and Ireland.  Its surveying team are members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Nurturing talent and progression is a core principle that the firms stands for with 13 of their surveying staff having become qualified throughout the firm’s training program. We sat down with three members of the team.


Over the last 27 years, Gail has worked right across the business, now within the asset management department.  She manages a large mixed-use portfolio of property which includes leading shopping centres and retail parks right across Northern Ireland.  

Within that her role is varied and includes managing one of Northern Ireland’s most successful retail schemes. Day-to-day this can include everything from managing service charge budgets to maximising rental income through lease renewals and rent reviews. Another key role is to provide regular accounting and financial reports to clients.

“One of my key roles is to support my agency department colleagues in their acquisitions of investment assets and upon completion ensure that a comprehensive management regime is followed to ensure continued growth of our clients assets,” she says.  “The role of a ‘property manager’ has evolved significantly over the course of my career with much of our work now focusing on compliance and risk management. We pride ourselves on making sure our clients are well advised, mitigating any risks that may be involved with their particular property.”

Some of those clients include retail sites such as Rushmere Shopping Centre in Craigavon.  Gail is also one of just eight female surveyors in Northern Ireland with the designation of FRICS, a Fellow Member of RICS.

“While females still only make up 14% of the surveying profession as a whole there are a significant number of women working within the commercial property sector in Northern Ireland, it’s no longer a male orientated profession.”

As for the business landscape Gail says that whilst there is general economic uncertainty they are seeing an increase in demand for their services as investors seek to maximise return from their investments.  “Interestingly we took on a number of new properties over the course of 2018, often on behalf of investors who were keen to maximise rental returns and ensure their property is run as efficiently as possible.”

Since graduating from Ulster University in 2011 with a degree in property investment and development, Marian’s career began on the other side of the globe working for multi-billion dollar US-owned LaSalle Investment Management at its offices in Sydney.

“In Sydney, as part of LaSalle’s centre management team, I was responsible for leasing, marketing, administration and operation of a bulky goods shopping centre, home to over 75 homemaker and lifestyle stores,” she says.  “I returned to Northern Ireland, and joined the property and asset management department of Osborne King as a graduate surveyor in June 2014,” she adds.  And following training, Marian became a chartered surveyor in 2016. She’s now responsible for managing a range of commercial assets on behalf of clients.  “This involves asset enhancement advice, tenant liaison, building maintenance, health and safety management, rent collection and accounting, service contract tendering and service charge administration,” she says.  “I continue to build on my client and property portfolio.”

And Marian also says that uncertainty hangs in the air for investors, while the ongoing lack of clarity over a post-Brexit landscape still exists.

Lisa has five years at Osborne King under her belt. Having graduated from the property investment and development course at Ulster University’s Jordanstown campus in 2012, she worked at a Belfast estate agents before joining Osborne King in 2013 becoming a chartered surveyor in 2016.  She works within the professional services team which sees her carry out valuations for a wide range of clients including private individuals, large companies and the major lending institutions. As part of this Lisa is a member of the RICS Registered Valuers Scheme.  

Lisa also provides rent review and lease renewal advice to landlords and tenants throughout Northern Ireland.  Additionally, Lisa was involved in the 2015 non-domestic rating revaluation providing advice to a wide range of clients and negotiating the valuations with Land & Property Services on the clients behalf at application and appeal stages. Following the 2015 revaluation Osborne King saved clients in excess of £2.5m. Lisa is working on the upcoming 2020 non-domestic revaluation on behalf of a variety of clients.

“I am fortunate to be involved in a wide range of work, some of which involves regular reporting to key clients such as one of Northern Ireland’s largest car showroom operators and well-known supermarket, convenience store businesses and global coffee brand.”

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